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A photo of a White-browed Coucal (Centropus superciliosus)
White-browed Coucal

White-browed Coucal

Centropus superciliosus

The White-browed Coucal, also known as the Lark-heeled Cuckoo, is a medium-sized bird, stretching from 36 to 42 centimeters in length. Both sexes present a similar plumage with a blackish crown and nape, while a striking white supercilium graces their faces. Their backs are a rufous-brown, transitioning to chestnut on the wings. The rump is blackish, leading to a black tail with a subtle green gloss and a distinctive white tip. The underparts are a soft creamy-white. These birds have red eyes, a black beak, and legs and feet that are either greyish-black or black.

Identification Tips

Adults can be identified by their blackish crown and nape, white supercilium, rufous-brown back, and chestnut wings. The blackish rump and tail with a green gloss and white tip are also characteristic. Juveniles, however, have rufous streaking on the crown, a faint buff supercilium, barred upper parts, and darker underparts.


The White-browed Coucal inhabits regions with dense undergrowth and scrub, thriving in areas that provide thick cover. It is also found in suitable coastal regions.


This species is native to eastern and southern Africa, as well as the southwestern Arabian Peninsula. Its range spans across numerous countries including Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.


The White-browed Coucal is known for its skulking nature, often remaining hidden within thick vegetation. It is not a migratory bird and tends to stay within its habitat range.

Conservation status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the White-browed Coucal as a "Least Concern" species, indicating that it currently faces no significant threat of extinction.

White-browed Coucal Sounds

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White-browed Coucals on Birda


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